Behind the Scenes

Life of a Plated Recipe: Skillet Grandma Pie

Ever wonder how our chefs come up with hundreds of different recipes for you to cook at home each week? Of course you do! The lifecycle of a Plated recipe follows pretty much the same path, but always with a few delicious surprises along the way. Here, we take a peek into the story behind next week’s Skillet Grandma Pie with Parmesan-Kale Salad.

Like all truly dedicated scholars, the ever-learning Culinary team is constantly exploring the restaurant scene, whether here in New York City or abroad on our food-centric travels, to educate ourselves on new ingredients or trends, and to pick up seriously delicious recipe inspiration. We keep a running list of restaurants we’re dying to try, or favorite dishes we just have to revisit and ask, “How’d they do that?!”

As you can probably guess, we’re surrounded by pizza restaurants, from hole-in-the-wall slice joints to artisanal brick-oven bakeries. There are countless styles at our fingertips (Sicilian, square, even deep dish), but it’s the “grandma” pie that inspired Head Chef Elana at first bite.

“Grandma” refers to a thin, usually square pizza, similar to the kind you might find in an Italian nonna’s home. It was popularized here on Long Island by Italian immigrants, who’d try to replicate a taste of home. Toppings typically include shredded mozzarella, crushed tomatoes, chopped garlic, and olive oil, scattered over the dough and baked in a sheet pan or skillet until the crust is super crispy (because nonna did not have a pizza oven or pizza stone at home). There’s kind of a huge debate about the order of toppings—is it cheese then sauce, or sauce then cheese? We opt for the latter, as it differentiates this pie from your everyday ‘za.

Somewhat magically, Elana quickly developed a grandma pie technique for Platers (that’s you guys) to recreate at home. The dough is rolled out to the shape and size of a skillet—we’re partial to our shallow cast iron pans—then cooked on the stove in a little olive oil to start the signature golden crispiness on the bottom of the dough.

Then, the par-cooked dough is topped with mozzarella and provolone, then dollops of crushed tomatoes, and baked until gooey and crispy. In true slice joint style, grated Parmesan is sprinkled over top, and it’s served with a lemon mustard–marinated kale salad with more Parmesan, because you can never have too much cheese.

With a technique this simple and foolproof, we’re willing to venture: It really does taste like Grandma used to make!


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